TRENTON, N.J. - A majority of the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division on Aug. 13 held that the state may deny Medicaid benefits to a certain class of legal aliens saying the U.S. Congress has provided leeway to states in funding its Medicaid programs by the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) (Manuel Guaman, et al. v. Jennifer Velez, Commissioner of New Jersey Department of Human Services, et al., No. A-1870-10T2, N.J. Super., App. Div.; 2013 N.J. Super. LEXIS 120).
GREENVILLE, S.C. - A federal judge in South Carolina on Aug. 12 granted summary judgment to two legislative defendants in a lawsuit seeking injunctive and protective relief for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Medicaid statutes (Kobe and Mark v. Nikki Haley, in her capacity as Governor and Chairman of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, et al., No. 3:11cv1146, D. S.C., Greenville Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113193).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a per curiam opinion, a District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 13 granted a joint motion to issue a mandate and remand with instructions to the lower court to dismiss the complaints as moot in two cases challenging a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) mandate requiring all health plans to provide "preventative services" for free, including those for birth control, to be held in abeyance pending a new rule that 2the federal government has promised will be issued soon (Wheaton College v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 12-5273; Belmont Abbey College v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 12-5291, D.C. Cir.).
ODMULGEE, Okla. - An Oklahoma federal judge on Aug. 12 dismissed two claims from a challenge to health care exchanges contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) but allowed three claims to continue (State of Oklahoma, ex rel. Scott Pruitt v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 11-30, E.D. Okla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113232).
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A Kansas federal judge on Aug. 9 granted the defendants' motions to dismiss a Medicare and Medicaid dispute, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction because the plaintiff had yet to complete an administrative review (THI of Kansas at Highland Park v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-2360, D. Kan.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112443).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge in an Aug. 7 unpublished opinion denied an ambulatory surgery center's request to amend its complaint against a health plan for wrongful denial of benefits, saying amendment would be futile (Montvale Surgical Center v. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Of New Jersey Inc., et al., No. 12-4166, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111771).
CINCINNATI - A health plan administrator did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by interpreting the coordination of benefits (COB) provision of the plan to deny payment of benefits for medical expenses that were paid by an individual automobile insurance policy, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed Aug. 8 (Richard Barron, Jr. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 12-2351, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 16583).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal magistrate judge on Aug. 5 partially granted and partially denied summary judgment motions made by both parties in a health care payment dispute between a health care provider and a health insurer and plan administrator (Robert Metcalf v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, et al., No. 11-1305, D. Ore.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109641).
PHILADELPHIA - A Pennsylvania federal judge on Aug. 2 denied a motion for summary judgment made by a health insurer and plan provider in a care denial of benefits suit (Debra L. Rubin v. AmeriHealth Administrators Inc., et al., No. 12-3719, E.D. Pa.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108579).
NEWARK, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Aug. 1 granted summary judgment in favor of health insurers in a reimbursement dispute and denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification (Premier Health Center, et al. v. UnitedHealth Group, et al., No. 11-425, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108041).
HOUSTON - A federal judge in Texas on July 31 dismissed a Medicare Act claim against Specialty Select Hospital Houston (Select), saying the Medicare beneficiary plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The judge concluded that the beneficiary has not completed the administrative review process and that the court, therefore, lacks jurisdiction because a final administrative decision has not been made (Catalina Blanco v. Select Specialty Hospital, Houston L.P., No. H-13-1591, S.D. Texas, Houston Div.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107525).
NEWARK, N.J. - Three chiropractors pursuing class claims against a health insurer's "bundling" of purportedly distinct claims survived dismissal on July 31, with a New Jersey federal judge finding that they had satisfied standing and pleading requirements under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and state law (Alphonse A. DeMaria, D.C., et al. v. Horizon Healthcare Services Inc., et al., No. 11-7298, D. N.J.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107422).
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - A federal judge in Tennessee on July 29 partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss a qui tam lawsuit filed against Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority, doing business as Erlanger Medical Center (Erlanger). The judge concluded that the false claims against the hospital authority are not allowed under the public disclosure bar of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (United States of America, ex rel. Lisa K. Stratienko v. Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority, d/b/a Erlanger Medical Center, No. 1:10cv322, E.D. Tenn.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105584).
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma federal judge on July 29 partially granted summary judgment in favor of a health care provider in a breach of contract dispute, leaving only the plaintiff's claim that she is a third-party beneficiary seeking to enforce restrictions on permitted billing of members for services that are not covered (Elizabeth Cates v. Integris Health Inc., No. 12-763, W.D. Okla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105437).
PRESCOTT, Ariz. - An Arizona federal judge on July 26 granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants in a class action lawsuit alleging that the secretary of Health and Human Services wrongfully granted approval to the State of Texas to permit heightened and mandatory copayments in a Medicaid demonstration project (Flint Wood, et al. v. Thomas Betlach, et al., No. 12-8098, D. Ariz.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105027).
CHICAGO - A panel of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 26 affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class action lawsuit alleging that six health insurance companies violated Wisconsin state law by requiring copayments for chiropractic care, saying that although the insurance companies were proper defendants, the practice of requiring chiropractic copayments is not a fiduciary act under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (Cynthia Larson, et al. v. United Healthcare Insurance Co., et al., No. 12-1256, 7th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 15272).
SAN FRANCISCO - A California federal judge on July 22 granted in part and denied in part a motion to compel arbitration in a class action lawsuit, alleging that a pharmacy benefit management company (PBM) and its related entities made unauthorized disclosures of customer information (Uptown Drug Company Inc. v. CVS Caremark Corp., et al., No. 12-6559, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102265).
MIAMI - A Florida federal judge on July 22 dismissed a reimbursement suit brought by a provider of health care against a health insurance company for failure to state a claim (Hialeah Physicians Care v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., No. 13-21895, S.D. Fla.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102007).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on July 19 dismissed antitrust and other claims alleging that WellPoint Inc. and other companies conspired to use a flawed database to set the rates for which out-of-network medical services (ONS) are reimbursed (In re: WellPoint Inc. Out-Of-Network "UCR" Rates Litigation, MDL No. 2:09-ml-02074, C.D. Calif.).
OKLAHOMA CITY - Following instructions from the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, an Oklahoma federal judge on July 19 reversed a previous decision and granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the arts and craft company Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and its owners, halting the implementation of a mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) related to the provision of birth control as it relates to the plaintiffs (Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 12-1000, W.D. Okla.).
CINCINNATI - Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) violated its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act by discretionarily setting and billing a self-funded benefits fund for a cost-transfer subsidy fee to satisfy its obligation to the State of Michigan, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 18 in affirming summary judgment to the fund (Pipefitters Local 636 Insurance Fund, et al. v. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 12-2265, 6th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 14517).
MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge in Wisconsin on July 17 declined to dismiss a suit alleging that Wisconsin officials violated the plaintiffs' federal Medicaid rights by failing to furnish medical assistance under a program for childless adults, saying that the plaintiffs have a private right of action (Charles Wagner, et al. v. Wisconsin Department of Health Services, et al., No. 12-463, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99629).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Supreme Court on July 22 denied an application for a stay in a case in which the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated preliminary injunctions prohibiting the California Department of Health Care Services and its director from implementing Medi-Cal reimbursement reductions authorized by the California Legislature and approved by the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (Managed Pharmacy Care, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13A13, U.S. Sup.).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on July 17 granted summary judgment in favor of a health insurer in a wrongful denial of benefits suit, saying the denial of benefits was not arbitrary and capricious (Daniel Z. Stern v. Oxford Health Plans Inc., No. 12-2379, E.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 99962).
HARRISBURG, Pa. - A majority of the Pennsylvania Superior Court found July 18 that a lower court properly placed the allocation burden on an insured in a professional liability coverage dispute over settlement and defense costs stemming from an underlying managed care multidistrict litigation (Executive Risk Indemnity Inc. v. CIGNA Corp., No. 1117 EDA 2012, Pa. Super.; 2013 Pa. Super. LEXIS 1662).